Life with you is a dream come true.
Happy two year anniversary to my loving, patient, and incredibly amazing husband!
Did this weekend even exist? It went by so fast!
I had a fabulous weekend really, packed with family, beautiful walks, great food, and home projects. Here’s a quick little recap of what was happening around mi casa this weekend.
I was feeling exhausted after work but brought myself to walk for 35 minutes. Dinner was simple but tasted SO good! It was sautéed broccoli, zucchini, onions, and green beans with diced chicken, apple, and gouda sausage! The dish was very flavorful thanks to the
I met my cousin Betsy out at Target Field in Minneapolis for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Our local news anchor Diana Pierce kicked off the event. Senator Amy Klobuchar also spoke, and I saw local sports reporter Eric Perkins on the walk and said “hi”! To any locals, you might know some of these folks. 🙂
The weather was beautiful and the walk was so much fun. We were led through the streets of downtown Minneapolis and into Loring Park (which is where I was last weekend!)
Bets and I made a pit stop at Caribou on the way back of course. Because of this, we didn’t win the race. 😉
There are so many people affected by Alzheimer’s, my grandma being one of them. It is a horrible disease that needs to end! They are researching like crazy to find the cure, and I pray they do. I can’t wait to do the walk again next year to support the research and end Alzheimer’s.
This weekend I solidified my obsession for these Blue Diamond Salt n’ Vinegar Almonds that I got from the Summit last weekend. I’ve looked in CVS and Target so far and I haven’t been able to find this flavor anywhere yet. I should have grabbed ten bags at the Summit. Seriously these things are awesome! They are tangy and salty. MMM…mmmm!
I dragged the Fall decorations up on Saturday. Our house is looking mighty festive!
In the evening we had a bunch of family over for dinner at our house. I finally got to wear my ZeeBee Threads t-shirt dress! I paired it with a zebra print scarf, grey leggings, and actually had to wear a long black cardigan too because it was CHILLY! This dress is so incredibly comfortable. I was so happy to be comfy yet still be wearing a cute outfit at the same time. Ya’ll know I’m all about comfort.
I was overly excited for dinner because we were getting pizza. I should really look back on the blog to determine the last time I actually ate real, not gluten-free, not cauliflower pizza crust… just real original legit pizza. My system has been cooling down quite a bit and I wanted to try this one treat to see how I held up.
The results: I think I felt fine—I didn’t feel any different really! Not that I will make this a common meal but it’s good to know I can handle it every once and a while. It tasted just as good as I remembered too!
I am beginning a project freezer clean out and dug this up from the freezer: gluten-free lemon blueberry bread. I topped it with some almond butter and called it breakfast.
After breakfast we ran our errands and got a few groceries but not too many because we are going on VACATION at the end of the week! I am realizing I haven’t said much about this yet. More to come on the vaca 411.
This week I plan to eat food from the freezer primarily. We have loads of frozen veggies, frozen meats, leftover soups, chili, etc. It will feel good to begin cleaning out the freezer! PROJECT FREEZER (and fridge) CLEAN OUT!
For dinner I made a batch of yellow quinoa and topped it with sautéed broccoli, zucchini, onions, chicken, and fresh tomatoes, olives, and hummus. A Mediterranean-inspired dish! My fav.
It tasted as good as it looked!
We tackled a few projects around the house, relaxed a bit, watched some of the Emmy’s, and called it an early night on Sunday. It was another fabulous weekend for the books!
How was YOUR weekend? What did you do?
Are you in need of a project freezer clean out?
And we’re back! I am continuing to recap my fabulous weekend away in New York. Where I left off was right after the show taping. If you missed my post yesterday, quick go and catch up here: A Surprise from Bethenny Frankel!
I definitely didn’t plan very well because I hadn’t packed any food to last me from 7:30 am until 12:30 pm. That is a long gap of time for me to not eat. Remember I’m a small meals throughout the day kind of gal whenever I can be. By the time I got back to the hotel to meet Dana who had just gotten in to NY, I a was extremely hungry. I was super excited to see Dana too!
We headed out on the town in search of food. I can’t even remember the restaurant we went to but I can tell you that I felt like I couldn’t get the food in fast enough. We shared a bison burger and a taco salad.
I was now energized and ready to explore the city for a couple of hours with my hubby.
We walked over to the Plaza Hotel where Home Alone: Lost in New York took place. What an absolutely gorgeous hotel. I googled hotel rates for the Plaza out of curiosity and it was something like $1500 a night. Pocket change, right? 😉
We walked the sidewalks, passing all of the fancy stores; Michael Kors, Coach, Tiffany, Saks, etc. Eventually we made it back to our hotel. It was time to get ready for the next event: the premiere party!
We got all glammed up and headed down to catch the shuttle. The shuttle took us from our hotel right over to the party which was in Chelsea.
Right after we took that photo outside, Bethenny drove by and yelled hello to all of us and said we were all looking mighty sexy! She is so real and I love it.
And then a couple’s shot.
We then followed the pink carpet into the main party area. The number of staff that were at the event blew my mind! There were so many of them; all with food or cocktails in hand. They were an amazing team.
A lot of these photos are professional ones (not mine) taken at the event. They were taken before the crowd came in which is why it’s so empty in the next couple of photos.
As always there were plenty of Skinnygirl cocktails to go around…
And lots of delicious appetizers…
We all hung out, enjoyed some music, and relaxed while we waited for Bethenny’s arrival.
The woman who sings Bethenny’s theme song “Calling All My Girls” came out and played for us for a while! She was pretty hard-core and there was some fist pumping happening for sure.
She thanked us all for being there and supporting her and then she revealed yet another surprise to us all.
Salt-N-Pepa were in the house!!!!
Yes, Salt-N-Pepa who we all know and love from growing up. They make you wanna Shoop, Push It, talk about Whatta Man (what a mighty good man)….
And they are looking better than ever!
They still have the moves, they can still rap like it’s nobody’s business, and they know how to get the crowd hyped up!
I was giddy!
I couldn’t wipe that grin off my face if you paid me. We jammed out to Salt-N-Pepa, totally on cloud nine until it was time to go. We ended up taking a taxi back to our hotel and on the ride back I got a phone call.
I won $500 in free Cosmedix products! Could this evening get any better?!
Cosmedix was one of the sponsors of the event. Cosmedix is an eco-friendly company. They “use the finest natural ingredients, uniquely refined for maximum effectiveness, our products work with your skin to target the most troublesome skin conditions—from acne and rosacea to sun damage and hyperpigmentation—without the irritation or downtime of conventional treatments.” source
I had signed up to win free products but never in a million years thought I would win. I’m just not usually a lucky person. I should have went out and bought a lottery ticket that night! They are going to mail me my prize and I will have to remember to show you everything I won once I get it. So exciting!
So we made it back to the hotel yet again. I changed out of my dress into comfy clothes and comfy walking shoes. The night wasn’t over yet. We headed out to meet my cousin Stephanie who lives in Queens. She kindly agreed to meet us in Times Square.
Dana and I were in need of a bite to eat so Steph suggested we go to the Stardust Diner which is a diner where the waitstaff sings and performs for you. They have incredible voices and will someday hopefully be on Broadway. I loved every second of being there: being with Steph and Dana, hearing great singing, and continuing on my “high” from the events of the day. I was one happy girl.
I didn’t want it to end. It was such a magical weekend. I went to bed thinking wow, did that really happen? I am thrilled to relive these memories with you all right now, although the memories still seem like a fairy tale dream.
Thank you to Bethenny Frankel and her incredible staff for making this happen for me and so many other lucky individuals. I am so happy to be able to support Bethenny and support the show!
Oh my gosh, I’m overwhelmed thinking about writing this post because I have SO much to say and I want to make sure and give you a complete run down of my incredibly amazing weekend. Seriously, this weekend felt like a dream.
A couple of weeks ago I received an email from a woman named Meghan who works in Public Relations for the Bethenny TV show. Remember a month ago when I went to Bethenny Frankel’s Calling All My Girls cocktail party? It was the same gal who had contacted me about that party. The email’s subject line was ‘One More Surprise.’
Mind you, I am opening this email on a Wednesday morning before work. I quickly opened the email and read that the surprise was that Bethenny was sending me out to to New York, flying me out, putting me up at the W Hotel in Times Square, sending me to watch a taping of her show, and inviting me to her premiere party!
WHAT?! I emailed Meghan back and asked her if it was for real. She said YES! What do you think? After a crazy day of finding someone to work for me, getting all of the necessary papers over to the Bethenny team, and shuffling a few other things around in my schedule, I was finally able to tell them that I could go! I had a week to get ready for this amazing opportunity! Was this really happening?!
Fast-forward to a week later: Thursday, September 5th.
After a couple of flights, a taxi ride, and some motion sickness, I arrive in style at the W New York Times Square hotel.
I have to say I felt a little bit like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman when I first arrived at the hotel. I was in comfy jeans and a baggy cardigan from the flight and I felt like everyone else there was dressed to the nine!
The staff at the W made me feel right at home and got me all checked in. I headed up to my room with an envelope in hand; I knew what was inside the envelope and was so excited to open it! As soon as I got into my hotel room (actually room #2 because there was a little bit of a mishap with the first room they gave me—someone was still in the room), I opened it up. Inside was a note from Bethenny welcoming me to NY and thanking me for supporting her through this exciting time in her life. There was a $200 gift card inside too! This is why I say the weekend was a dream…
There had to have been at least 50 of us staying at the W on behalf of Bethenny. She is so generous! As I was overwhelmed with this greeting, I was also overwhelmed by the views from my room!
It’s Times Square! Right there!
I probably said “Is this for real?” about a million times while on this trip. After a while of ooing and awwwing over the views, I got myself together and headed out on the town to do some exploring. I had been to Times Square a couple of times prior to this, so it was nice to be able to go out very leisurely and explore versus feeling like I needed to go see everything!
I made a stop at the M & M store of course and got myself a bag of Peanut Butter M & M’s. This will be in my heaven someday. Of course, calories won’t count in heaven.
I also bought a huge salad from down the street of my hotel. Before heading back to my room I made one last stop at Forever 21 and just about lost my cool because of how crazy busy it was. So. many. people. everywhere.
It was time for me to relax. After I ate dinner and some chocolates, I made my way to the hotel gym. I didn’t have the right shoes with me, just my Privo’s, but I still managed to crank out some weights and some walking on the treadmill.
After my cool and easy workout, I went back to my room and got cozy. Like real cozy. I showered and snuggled up in the fancy white robe.
I gawked at the nighttime views, read a magazine, painted my nails, and relished the moment.
A girl could get used to this!
After a terrible night of sleep and looking at my clock every hour on the hour, I was up and at em’ at 5:30 am. I scarfed down a make shift breakfast: an apple with Justin’s Maple Almond Butter.
After a short panic attack about a stain on my shirt, it was time to go to the taping of Bethenny’s show!
The shuttle picked us up at the hotel at 7:30 am to bring us over to the show. Btw I was on my own at this point (Dana was meeting me in NY later in the morning), but I met some amazing people! The group I hung out with all weekend was the Minnesota group (you’re right—we are kind of a cliquey state). It was comforting to be with them! Minnesota nice isn’t a lie. I love these girls (and guys!).
Once we finally got into the set of the show the staff got us all hyped up by playing dance music, talking with us, and giving us countdowns to Bethenny’s appearance. Her set is ADORABLE. I can’t wait for you all to see it!
After what seemed like an eternity, it was time for her to make her way to the stage. We all went crazy when she finally arrived! The show was taped from 10 am-12 pm. I can’t divulge any info about the show I saw but I can tell you that it will be on September 16th on Fox 9 at 3 pm and that it is a lot of fun! I don’t think you will be able to see me at all because I was on the very left side (if you’re looking from the stage) but look for me just in case! It was a blast being there. There was such an incredibly supportive and fun energy in the room!
Bethenny is hysterical. She is witty, genuine, and is so so much fun. She has no limits to what she will say or do. I highly recommend you check out her show!
Guess what?! The premiere of her show is TODAY!
Set your DVR to Fox 9 at 3 pm everyone. Nick Cannon will be on and apparently he teaches Bethenny how to dance (okay, how to twerk). I’m sure it will be highly entertaining. You know I’ll be watching it!!
It’s weird that I’m getting all jittery and excited again as I relive the moments of the weekend in this post. I have SO Much more to share but in order to keep this post from becoming novel length, I am going to have to split it into two separate posts. Can you handle it?! There is more coming your way tomorrow. A lot more. Dana will arrive in NY, we explore the city together, and attend a jaw-dropping cocktail party!!
It’s time to talk about my weekend. Holy moly was it a good one!
It started off with a birthday celebration on Friday night for my brother, Kevin. He requested steak and chicken fajitas and strawberry cheesecake for dessert. I was stoked about this menu! I LOVE fajitas!
First let me show you my dad’s beautiful plate:
He always makes such a gorgeous presentation of his food. Me on the other hand, I just make one big pile in the middle of my plate…
His is way more visually appealing. I should probably start taking some notes!
After dinner, we hung outside for a while before heading in to open presents. As always we were highly entertained by the dogs attempting to get along. For whatever reason they just don’t like each other a whole lot. We’re still hoping this changes in the future!
Strawberry Cheesecake from Costco. It was pretty darn good!
Happy Birthday, Kevi!
Moving on to Saturday
On Saturday morning we piled our stuff in the car and headed to Alpine Valley which is in Elkhorn, Wisconsin (45 minutes outside of Milwaukee). We were going to see the one, the only, Jimmy Buffett!
We broke up the five hour car ride with some rest stop breaks, and lunch at Subway. I ordered their turkey chopped salad and was super impressed by how good it was!
Once we arrived at our hotel we freshened up before heading out to the concert. Dana’s mom had brought a few extra fun hats to wear so I borrowed one for the evening. They were so cute!
Part of our crew: Grant, Rachel, and Mason
Dana and me…
Not pictured were Dana’s parents as well as a couple family friends, Denise and Jim.
Before heading into the concert, we took in the craziness that were the tailgating lots. These people had been there since noon or so just drinking and playing games, so you can imagine what kind of shape they were in when we were walking through at 8:00 pm! Needless to say, a lot of them didn’t even make it to the concert.
Jackson Browne opened for Jimmy Buffett, but half of our group didn’t actually go into the concert until Jimmy took the stage. Once we got inside the concert area we were absolutely blown away at how many people were there! I tried capturing it on camera but it was too dark.
What is nice about Alpine Valley is that for one, it is outside, and two, the majority of the seats are lawn seats so you could pretty much
sit stand wherever! We started in one spot but made our way closer and closer as the night progressed.
This is where we watched the end of the concert. We were fairly close!
Although I only knew about half of the songs he sang, I still had an AMAZING time. This guy puts on one heck of a performance. I got especially pumped when I heard “Margaritaville” and “Cheeseburger in Paradise!”
I highly suggest that if you ever get a chance to see him in concert, that you do. You won’t regret it. Plus, the people watching was some of the best I have ever seen. There were lots of floral shirts and flip flops going on. Everyone was super nice and very laid back too!
The majority of my day on Sunday was spent in the car driving home, then going to pick up Moose. I was exhausted from not getting enough sleep and from being in the car all day, but it was SO worth it!
Are you a Jimmy Buffett fan?
Dana grew up listening to it so he is a big fan and over the years has exposed me to quite a bit of Jimmy. I like him a lot now too!
Hey locals! Don’t forget to enter to win a chance to meet Olympian Dara Torres! Check out the details here!
Happy Monday! Have I got a treat for you. I do have a lot to catch you up on from the weekend, but it’s going to have to wait til later in the week.
First, let me introduce you to Dara Torres…
To those of you who may not know Dara:
“Dara Torres is arguably the fastest female swimmer in America. She entered her first international swimming competition at age 14 and competed in her first Olympic Games a few years later in 1984.
At the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, Dara became the oldest swimmer to compete in the Olympic Games. When she took three silver medals home – including the infamous heartbreaking 50-meter freestyle race where she missed the Gold by 1/100th of a second – America loved her all the more for her astonishing achievement and her good-natured acceptance of the results.
In total, Dara has competed in five Olympic Games and has won 12 medals in her entire Olympic career. Her impressive performance in Beijing and her attempt at the 2012 London Olympic Games has inspired many older athletes to consider re-entering competition, including cyclist Lance Armstrong.
Aside from her amazing accomplishments in the pool, Dara has talents on dry land as well. A composed commentator, guest host and strong interviewee, she has appeared on such shows as Fox News, ESPN, CNN, Piers Morgan Tonight, Today Show, Good Morning America, Kelly and Regis, and many others. Additionally, Dara was the first female athlete ever to be featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, and in 2009, won the ESPY award for “Best Comeback.” To add to Dara’s accolades, she was also named one of the “Top Female Athletes of the Decade” by Sports Illustrated Magazine.
Now a top-selling author, her memoir, “Age is Just a Number: Achieve Your Dreams at Any Stage in Your Life,” published in April, 2009 and was listed as one of the top 25 best-selling business books by June. Her second book, “Gold Medal Fitness: A Revolutionary 5-Week Program” hit stands in May, 2010 and is now a New York Times Best-Seller.
Olympian, author, mother, and role model, Dara Torres is many things to many people, but above all, she is an inspiration.”
Besides all of the aforementioned list of achievements, she has also more recently partnered with a headphone company called Koss.
The line she is working on is called Koss FitBuds and they are the smallest earbuds Koss has ever created. The buds are only six millimeters in diameter, making them 33 percent smaller than the average Koss earbud. The elements are surrounded by a dual-injected, soft-rubberized housing intended to fit perfectly in the female ear. The FitBuds feature a sweat-resistant coating and come in fun colors!
The FItBuds are:
How would you like a chance to meet Dara?!
I am giving away two entries to Minnesotans or to anyone willing to drive to Minnesota to not only meet Dara, but also take a spin class with her, get a free pair of FitBuds and a free gift bag from Koss!
The dates and times for the classes are as follows:
Tuesday, September 17
4:45 pm – 5:45 pm
Wednesday, September 18
11:45 am – 12:45 pm
*Winner will need to inform me of option/location they would like to attend. Exact locations will be revealed to giveaway winners.
Doesn’t this sound like a blast! I plan on being there, too!
Enter to win!
To enter to win, comment on this post telling me why you would love to win this giveaway. Earn an extra entry by tweeting, “I want to meet Dara Torres! I entered to win at http://wp.me/p2J5VV-2dX.” Be sure to leave an extra comment on my post so that I know you tweeted.
I will announce the winner on Friday, August 30th! Edited: Contest closes at 12:00 am central time zone on Friday August 30th.
Now that it’s been a few days, I’ve had enough time to come down from cloud nine and process the greatness of what was my Wednesday night. Let’s back it up for a sec.
A few weeks ago I received an email from the Public Relations rep from the Bethenny TV show (which begins September 9th!). She explained that there was an exclusive cocktail party hosted by Bethenny Frankel called “Calling All My Girls” that is visiting eight cities around the United States, and it was going to be coming to Minneapolis in just a couple of weeks. She then proceeded to tell me she loved the content of my blog and thought that Bethenny’s audience would love it too. Then she invited me to be a VIP guest at the cocktail party!
I had to reread the email a few times and even google searched the sweet PR rep just to make sure this whole thing was legitimate. After some research I realized that it truly was for real. My adrenaline started racing and I quickly put together a response email.
The event was called, Calling All My Girls and it was an exclusive cocktail party for 150 ladies who wanted a night out with the girls and a chance to hang out with Bethenny and help celebrate her upcoming talk show called Bethenny. Of course I was going to attend!
For those of you who may not be too familiar with Bethenny Frankel…
She is a former natural food chef, in 2005 she was a contestant on Martha Stewart’s The Apprentice, and in 2008 she was selected for the reality show, The Real Housewives of New York. For personal reasons she left the show in 2011. Since then she has starred in a couple of her own reality TV shows, Bethenny Getting Married and Bethenny Ever After. She also established her own brand of lower calorie cocktails called Skinnygirl, which have been a total hit. She is a New York Time’s bestselling author and has come out with workout DVDs. To top it off, she has a beautiful little girl named Brynn who is obviously her pride and joy. Whewwww she is one busy woman!
Why people love her…
Bethenny is known as the TMI (two much information) Queen. She will say anything, she will say what she feels and doesn’t censor herself. She is completely open and honest and will answer any question that comes her way. She has a very motivated and driven work tactic that is highly admirable. She is real in the way she presents herself, and connects with her fans because of all of these reasons. She is sweet, funny, and absolutely beautiful, and I got to hang out with her!
I jumped on the chance to get all dolled up for a cocktail party hosted by Bethenny Frankel herself! To be honest, I had to google “cocktail party attire” because I really don’t frequent cocktail parties and had an idea of what to wear, but wanted to be sure.
I found this BCBG dress at Macy’s and got a killer deal on it! I truly think it was made for me–it fit like a glove and I loved it! I already had shoes to go with the dress (thanks Hales), a clutch (thanks Jeff and Ana) and just had to buy earrings and a bracelet.
Upon arrival to the party we all had to sign in and get our access bracelets. Immediately cocktail waiters were coming around with Skinnygirl Moscato and champagne and the energy at the Union in Minneapolis was really electric.
I noticed that most of the women there had come with someone they knew and that is because the majority of the women there had won tickets to the party and were allowed to bring one guest. I didn’t even think to ask to bring a guest, so I showed up singular. This was fine with me though! I immediately noticed another blogger there (we wore special badges) and connected with her right away. I also found the woman that had emailed and invited me to the event, and she was so welcoming and kind. I felt at ease knowing I had already met two great people.
Eventually, we made our way up to the rooftop at the Union which was starting to fill up with people (this was a photo before the event hence the people-less rooftop).
On the rooftop we mingled with each other for an hour or so, munched on some seriously tasty appetizers, sipped on cocktails, and enjoyed the beautiful evening. Seriously the weather couldn’t have been more perfect.
They played a video of Bethenny talking about her life and growing up and where she is now, speaking about celebrating life, following our hearts, pursuing our dreams, and then she talked about her upcoming show. This is when reality started setting in that I was about to meet Bethenny!
As she made her grand entrance, we all went crazy! We were so excited to see her and she is just as beautiful, if not even more beautiful in person than she is on TV.
She talked with us for a while, answered some “Ask Bethenny Anything Questions”,” played some games, and then introduced a handful of bachelors who would be mingling with the crowd for the evening.
Next, we were called over in groups to get the chance to meet Bethenny and take a photo with her. When my group was called I was surprised that I wasn’t nervous–just excited. That’s the aura that she gives off though; just completely real. You feel like you’re hanging out with a girlfriend.
On the right is a sweetheart I met named Lizzie! I also got to meet Lee who is a blogger at Fit Foodie Finds!
I got to meet Bethenny! So exciting!
After we all got our turn meeting Bethenny, she came back to the stage to talk to us for a while longer and then finally had to say her good-bye’s. The event was from 6-9 and it flew by so quickly!
Before I forget to mention, the DJ at the event was incredible. Every song she played I would say “this is my song!” Just like my dress was made for me, I think she was my DJ.
I spent the majority of my evening with these two wonderful ladies: Jen and Erica. Erica blogs at Love.Baby.Life and Jen is a friend of hers. I was so happy to have met these girls. They were so genuine and fun!
At 9 pm, I decided I needed to head out; I’m not used to partying on a week night and had to work the next day. On our way out the door we were given a swag bag (yes!!). I peaked in it on the way home but was too exhausted to look entirely until the next day. In the bag: her brand new book Skinny Girl Solutions, Skinnygirl workout DVD, Skinnygirl Stevia and Monk Fruit Extract, Skinnygirl chocolate bar, Bethenny T-shirt, PurNaturals makeup, EOS chapstick (my new favorite!), and a really nice sturdy duffle bag. Amazing swag!
Talk about an adrenaline rush not only when I was at the event, but much of the time leading up to the event. I was wiped! It took me until Sunday to finally feel well-rested and back to normal. I obviously don’t get the opportunity to do things like this too often. Hanging out with the stars is exhausting, but so incredibly amazing! 😉
I feel so blessed to have had this opportunity and I so look forward to her upcoming show, Bethenny on September 9th!! You all should watch it too!
Have you ever met a celebrity?